Archive for the ‘interactive’ Category

Foursquare for squares?

Monday, August 9th, 2010

So do you guys want to talk about Foursquare? I do. Now that all the concern about stalkers, house-robbers, etc has worn off, I have some comments. I have only a couple friends on Foursquare who actually use it regularly and I don’t hang out with them that much. So, I find myself, when I remember checking in when I’m out with my non-Foursquare friends (the large majority of the time) sort of hiding it. I’m embarrassed. Inevitably I’m asked “What are you doing? What’s Foursquare?” and I have to explain it to them. And they are confused and not really impressed. “What’s the point of that? It sounds dumb.” I can defend the silly thing, but not with much conviction.

Foursquare is an app you install on a smart phone that uses geotracking to allow you to “check-in” to whatever real location you are at and it lets your other foursquare friends know as well as keeping you informed of where your friends go. You can post “tips” in certain locations for others to read if they check into the same place. If you check into a location more than anyone else you can become the mayor of that place. You can also earn assorted badges for playing. For example, checking in 4 nights in a row can get you a “Bender” badge. It’s a little like location-based twitter with a bit of a game element.

What does any of this actually mean for brands and making the big bucks? I don’t know, not a whole lot to be honest. A few companies like Starbucks have had Foursquare build in coupons into the application. Starbucks offers the mayor of their specific location a dollar off their already over-priced fruity ice drinks I think at the moment. Some companies like Bravo, VH1, Zagat, New York Times have started their own Foursquare account to advertise events or their brand. A while ago, there was an article in the New York Times about Foursquare and that it’s now worth a ton of money, but it’s still a bit murky as to how this application can be harvested for real value. I haven’t done very much research, but it seems like Foursquare is not mainstream and is only being used by the geekiest geeks who want to go through the trouble of checking in. Correct me if I’m wrong.

There is a part of me that enjoys Foursquare because I like the idea of tracking where I’m going or the repetitive activity of checking in places and collecting them, or badges, or mayorships and around my town too. There’s a kind of thrill in seeing that we all go to the same places (tech enabling human connection?) and the city is actually so small. Because very few of my friends are into Foursquare, and most of my friends are types who would never be, it’s not all that social for me. In fact, I kind of wish it wasn’t attached to other people so I didn’t have to bother them with my updates or remind them that I exist, defeating perhaps the entire purpose of this SOCIAL network. I think of quitting it often, but then consider that it is a way to keep in touch with people that I like and don’t see often, it is kinda fun in some ways, and I like to participate in this stuff and see what it’s like and how people use it, even if I’m not the ideal user. Also, you never know, maybe it will really catch on and then I’ll be ahead of the game. I doubt it though, most people just can’t keep up being so intensely into themselves all the time. Just me; the amount that I’m into myself knows no bounds!

Condescending social media programs

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

I just encountered two so far this week since I have been paying attention, but I’ll probably post more if I see them.

This annoyed me when I kept repeatedly seeing it so I took a screenshot to blog about later:

Hoot Suite took a nap

This is from Hootsuite which is a Twitter client that allows you to check multiple accounts, it automatically updates, and other fun stuff. Twitter is a medium for people to post quick 140 character messages into the ether where they try to make it sound like they are cool when really they can’t possibly be cool if they are tweeting. Anyway, Hootesuite stops updating if you don’t check for over an hour it seems. What is weird about this is that the message is in first person and refers to having the ability to be bored, make decisions, take naps and know things. “Let me know,” Hootsuite says, as if it were my buddy on ichat, just waiting for my return. We’re not children and we don’t imagine that the website is a sentient being with thoughts, feelings and the ability to make decisions. I guess some people might argue that this is cute or something, but I find it vaguely annoying. I don’t like that they are trying to be cute. And I’m trying to identify who it is that the voice is coming from, the Hootsuite Owl logo? The website itself? The pop up window? Bah! It just takes the “Snooze” metaphor, which by itself I don’t mind, way too far.

The next one too:

Facebook error message

This one is obviously from Facebook, which is a social media site where people post pictures and notes about themselves to a list of everyone they’ve ever met pretending that their list gives a crap about their lives. Anyway, this message struck me as weird too. “Just kidding!!” What a wicked sense of humour there on this inanimate, difficult to define object/being. Like this pop-up window being is so very mischievous and me and he/she are comfortable enough with each other for he/she to give me a little ribbing there. Good one, pop-up window. You sure got me. And again, who exactly is kidding? Who is this amorphous “we” trying to be funny here? There was a bug in the computer program or something, that’s fine, why do you have to give the error message personality? It’s annoying and feels wrong, like the author of the message is trying to pull one over on me or something. Jerks. No I am not thinking too much about this…

Social Media Experts

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Where did this term come from? How does one become a “Social Media Expert.” What are the credentials or qualifications for such a thing? I keep hearing all these people who self-label as social media gurus and whatnot. They just seem to throw it out there like it’s nothing. I recently interviewed someone for an communications intern type position and she told me she was a social media expert and that she knows more about social media than most people in Canada. This is such a strange thing to say, because I think this doesn’t actually mean anything.

I feel like calling yourself a social media expert is akin to calling yourself a public transportation expert. Well, you know, I’ve been taking public transportation since 1997 and I am on there several times a day every single day! Yeah yeah, I’m great at getting on buses, getting off streetcars, meeting people on the subway, I can get myself anywhere, etc, just awesome! I know more about public trasportation than most people in Canada.

When you’re a child and don’t have any life experience or you’re from a small town or from the country with no access to public transportation and you’re from the early 20th century and you’ve never heard of buses or trains, you might hear someone say “Hey, I’m an expert on public transportation,” you would be very impressed! However, if you’ve grown up in present day and public transportation is such a part of every day life that you take it for granted and wouldn’t even imagine saying you’re an expert in something so ordinary and invisible. It’s also such a broad category of something to be an expert in and it is unclear. For example, maybe you are trying to say you are an expert at fixing streetcars, or you know all the different models of subways by sight, or you have a scam going on where you get on for free, you know? It’s not a valid claim and doesn’t actually mean anything of value to people who know how public transportation works.

That’s how I feel when someone says they are an expert in social media. It’s so vague, man. What does that even mean? You know about the various social media forms? You know how to send out a group text? You know how to create an event? You know how to “like” things? All users of this stuff know this already. You know how to read metrics and analytics? You know how to program apps? You are good at community building and interaction on brand? You can design a social media campaign? There are actual categories for that like, experience and interaction design, technologist, programmer, digital community coordinator, strategic planner, digital copywriter, etc, etc. No one who legitimately works in the media ever calls themselves a socal media expert in general terms. Do they? Maybe they do. They shouldn’t.

Whenever I hear anyone call themselves a social media expert I think that either they don’t fully understand what social media is and how to work in it or they are trying to fool someone who they think doesn’t know what social media is. Am I crazy? It’s seems like such a common label, but I suspect people are just making it up. Please feel free to argue with me.

And then I google image searched “public transportation expert.” I liked these:

11997-eating_public_transportation

shibuya-monkey-feb-2009-expert

joetransit_large1

Wendell cox podium 300pix

take picture dont steal

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Take PictureOne of the coolest projects I’ve seen in a while:

http://www.takepicturedontsteal.com/

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The Cyclist Who Drew Toronto

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Watch the totally cool video below and read the Torontoist article:

My farm on Farm Town

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Not to be confused with Farmville, which is I understand is a completely different place.

I’m waiting for my mom get home from work so I can hire her to harvest all my fields that are ready to go.

srahberry's farm

I know it’s kinda (or extremely) pathetic to be so excited about a facebook app of all things, but I think my farm looks pretty great. Note that my level is already “SUPERB FARMER.”

Odosketch!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

I did not have to scan very long on Odosketch before I found a panda to post! Pandas are awesome.

physical jerks

Vote for Chutsul

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Christopher Hutsul is featured in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase:

Check him out, he’s so awesome!

We Feel Fine .org

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Happy pride everyone!! and happy rainy weather that cooled every body off like I think was needed. I caught some of the parade, always fun. I also treated myself to a mani/pedi this afternoon which always makes me feel like a spoiled brat – so indulgent! Sat in a coffee shop on the other side of Bellwoods where I caught the last part of Sgt. Pepper’s and the first part of Magical Mystery Tour – that was quite nice. When I got home I weighed myself on the Wii fit which is telling me consistently over the last few days that I lost roughly 10 pounds from April when I was last using it all the time. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, but I guess with biking and eating healthier in the last little while it made a difference. Soon I’ll be bikini-ready! Isn’t that what everyone wants?

I found the coolest thing when looking at my statcounter to see where people were getting to my site from: Check out We Feel Fine. I feel like the fact that someone from England found me through the site and stayed at my blog for 5.41 minutes is pretty cool – almost serendipitous. Maybe they were around long enough to catch some early millenial emo music! One can hope. One can really only hope.

We Feel Fine screen shot

Old and-or new school I found on YouTube

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I’m really interested in expressions using the juxtaposition of technology and interactivity mixed with more tactile, human and/or traditional media/methods/objects. That line is kinda dense, eh? Well, let me just show you through the following short YouTube compilation that I will curate for you. Feel free to add your own links and ideas in the comments!